March 30th, 2018 by asjstaff

I’ve reviewed a handful of holsters here on TTAG, dabbling in many more that have yet to be mentioned. And to be honest, I feel somewhat remiss for not bringing this one to you sooner.

When I started using Ultimate Holsters gear eighteen months ago it quickly became – and still remains – the carry solution I fall back to once I’ve completed other holster review testing.

Ultimate Holsters’ Cloud Tuck Rapid Holster and Ultimate IWB Spare Mag Pouch are hands-down the best hybrid holsters I’ve found for IWB carry of my sub-compact SIG P238 and mags. There’s so much to like about this small kit, I’m not even sure where to begin . . .

Now, from the moment I read the word “Ultimate” in their name, I was skeptical. Do you blame me? Yet, the second I pulled one of their holsters from its packaging, my dubiousness was dashed by the excellent craftsmanship and quality of components comprising the Cloud Tuck Rapid holster. It’s clear each holster is carefully hand-crafted to customer specifications.

At first glance, the most prominent feature is probably the Kydex shell. I wasn’t a fan of the carbon fiber look until I had this holster in my hand, but I am now. The pattern really pops and its texture is true-to-life.

What’s more, there are a total of five carbon fiber color options to choose from (above). And if carbon fiber isn’t your thing, the Cloud Tuck Rapid’s shell is also available in black, blood red, pink, and purple. Still not satisfied? Name your “custom infused” color at checkout.

Most importantly, Ultimate Holsters uses precise firearm molds to create very accurate shells. My P238 has fit exceptionally well across all five shells I have used. Specific care is also taken to ensure proper engagement at the trigger guard, traditionally a critical area for retention.

The Cloud Tuck Rapid’s Kydex shell is also quite trim, leading to a small footprint. Its edges are well-finished and smooth; a flared mouth at the top of the shell aides in re-holstering.

As an added safety feature, Ultimate ensures the mold fills the space on the back side of the magazine release. Kydex in this space helps to keep the magazine from accidentally being released by blocking the button from somehow becoming depressed while holstered.

Fastened to the shell below the Cloud Tuck Rapid’s open-throat sits a single, thick 1.5-inch wide, U.S.-made polymer belt clip. It has an aggressive barb that does a great job of locking around a host belt. The clip is adequately rigid and includes a handy integrated thumb tab to assist in removal.

The clip also allows for a good degree of adjustability. Both cant and ride height can be easily adjusted to meet individual preferences (above).

Rubber bushings help securely anchor the clip to the Kydex and also make ample room for thick belts and pants.

While the Kydex half of the hybrid Cloud Tuck Rapid holster sure is nice, it’s the backer that is the true draw of Ultimate Holsters design – one that sets the brand apart from other hybrids. The holsters backer begins where most others end – with a piece of high-quality black leather.

The leather backer then plays host to an industry first – a blue medical-grade, silver-infused soft antimicrobial pad.

Glued and impeccably sewn to the leather backer, Ultimate Holster’s soft “Silver Lining” reduces odor, creates a moisture barrier between you and your gun, and promotes quick drying after use.

The shape of the layered backer mostly follows the contours of the Kydex shell, extending above the wide mouth and clip to provide full protection between you and the firearm.

Additionally, the backer is cut out around the P238’s safety, creating space to reduce the risk of an accidental snag.

Ultimate Holsters boasts that their holsters are “constructed from the finest materials.” Not only are the backer’s layers, Kydex shell, and polymer clip top-notch components, the hardware holding it all together is also of excellent quality.

The smooth brass washers, in particular, are nicely set into the backer to avoid snags and scratches.

Adjusting the holster’s retention is simple with the four Phillip’s head screws and rubber washers. The four points allow you to make fine adjustments in specific areas, as opposed to a single point of adjustment.

I found that the well-molded shells, combined with the hybrid backer, meant I didn’t need to crank-down on the rubber washers to attain the appropriate amount of on-body retention. In addition, the four screws are sized so that they never protruded past their brass washer counterparts.

Wearing the Cloud Tuck Rapid holster is almost an experience too good to be true. Its rounded, smooth edges allow it to slip right in behind the waistline of your trousers or Bermuda shorts. Immediately you’ll notice how comfortable the holster feels – in any position.

What’s more, the antimicrobial pad’s texture helps keep your shirt tucked in – a bonus I really like. And when it’s hot the holster feels great on bare skin and pulls any sweat away from your body.

Important to a degree exceeding all other aspects of any holster is its functionality. Not only does the Cloud Tuck Rapid look great and feel awesome, it performs exceedingly well. Retention is reliable and draws are consistent and without hang-up on the shell or backer.

My foremost concern with the leather/antimicrobial backer was that it would be too soft, compressing into the firearm and creating a “sticky draw”. However, the layered backer is rigid enough, and the leather dense enough, that only a very minimal break-in period should be needed, if at all.

The “flop over factor” is very low with Ultimate Holsters. Again, the layers of the backer seem to work symbiotically to keep the backer from folding over the mouth of the holster.

The no-flop backer, combined with the wide-mouth shell help facilitate consistently satisfying and dependable holstering of the weapon. The holster’s mouth is easy to visually identify and positive lock-up with the holster can be felt (and often heard) when attained.

Now, the seven rounds in my SIG P238 aren’t exactly “high capacity” – or “standard capacity”, for that matter – so in addition to my Cloud Tuck Rapid holster I carry one or two spare magazines in Ultimate IWB Spare Mag Pouches.

Ultimate’s Mag Pouches run the same line as the holsters – identical high-quality materials and craftsmanship resulting in a reliable and extremely comfortable magazine carrier. Made-to-order just like their holsters, Ultimate IWB Spare mag Pouches are optioned with bullets facing forward or rearwards.

The Mag Pouch is also thin enough to be comfortably worn just about anywhere along the beltline. I routinely carry one at about the eight-o’clock position, as well as appendix – sometimes plural. They’ve retained my magazines perfectly, are easy to draw from and re-holster, and have the same great four-position rubber washer retention system.

Ultimate’s holster and mag carriers are by far my favorite IWB carry set; especially when it comes to summertime carry (no undershirt) and carry when wearing a suit. In fact, wearing these holsters with a nice Canali suit felt pretty dang appropriate with the carbon fiber finish and leather.

Another draw of Ultimate Holsters is their Ultimate Risk Free Guarantee. Essentially, you can try their holster for thirty days and if it doesn’t meet your needs, you can send it back for a full refund. If I could have tried every holster I’ve ever bought for thirty days, I’d probably have a few more firearms instead of a large drawer of holsters.

Plus, they’ve got free shipping for order over $40 and their customer service is outstanding.

So while I won’t go as far as to call anything the “ultimate” in its class, Ultimate Holsters’ Cloud Tuck Rapid IWB Holster and Spare Mag Pouch is the closest thing I’ve found so far. It’s hard to imagine a more comfortable hybrid holster that’s also this dependable – and adjustable, not to mention customizable, for that matter.

The Silver Lining antimicrobial/antibacterial backer pad provides a real benefit and I’ve experienced miniscule delamination. Each holster is made-to-order and handcrafted with high quality materials that can take a beating. The Ultimate Holsters’ Cloud Tuck Rapid holster and Ultimate IWB Spare Mag Pouch look great, function great, and are lightweight…why wait?

Specifications: Ultimate Holsters Cloud Tuck Rapid IWB Holster (P238)

Price as reviewed (carbon fiber finish): $85.99 MSRP (on sale on their website)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Design: * * * * *
Great-looking minimalist design ensures a small footprint. High-quality components throughout. Excellent adjustability options.

Firearm Fit: * * * *
Very good fit across a variety of holsters. Shells molded with attention to critical areas of retention.

Retention: * * * * *
Provides retention the way a holster is supposed to. Engages the firearm in the critical areas without creating too much friction. Wide mouth of holster allows for easy and safe holstering.

Durability: * * * * *
The top-notch materials used in the holster hold up extremely well to wear. Expect years of service from this holster.

Finish: * * * * *
This holster is finished as well as anyone could want; clearly hand-detailed. The stitching of the backers layers is near-perfect and the leather is very good grain – soft, yet dense, and well-stained. The Kydex used to create the shells is high-quality and the carbon fiber pattern is outstanding.

Overall: * * * * *
Ultimate Holsters’ Cloud Tuck Rapid holster is highly comfortable, reliable, lightweight, and delivers a great fit, smooth draw and easy holstering. Handcrafted to order with high-quality materials, this holster can also take a beating. The Cloud Tuck Rapid’s antimicrobial pad simply can’t be beat.

Specifications: Ultimate IWB Spare Mag Pouch (Carbon Fiber Finish)

Price as reviewed (carbon fiber finish): $45.00 MSRP

Ratings (out of five stars):

Design: * * * *
Designed to match Ultimate Holsters’ firearm holsters, the Spare Mag Pouch literally makes it a matching set. Utilizing the same minimalist approach as its counterpart, the carrier takes up little space and is very lightweight. Great adjustability.

Magazine Fit: * * * *
Very good fit to all magazines, regardless of capacity. Bullets facing forward or rearwards is a great must-have option.

Retention: * * * * *
Includes standard four-position rubber washer adjustability to keep magazines engaged until needed.

Durability: * * * * *
The top-notch materials used in the holster hold up extremely well to wear. Expect years of service from this mag carrier.

Finish: * * * * *
The Mag Pouch is finished with a very high level of detail and care. Stitching of the backer is near-perfect and the leather is very good grain – soft, yet dense, and well-stained. The Kydex used to create the shells is high-quality and the carbon fiber pattern really pops.

Overall: * * * * *
With quality mirroring their holsters, the Ultimate Holsters Ultimate IWB Spare Mag Pouch is a top-notch companion for the Cloud Tuck Rapid – or any holster, for that matter.

Posted in Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

August 4th, 2016 by asjstaff

With Quality Guns Like The MCX And A Branded Line Of Pellets And Targets, SIG Sauer Is Establishing Itself As A Leader In The Airgun Market

STORY BY TOM CLAYCOMB • PHOTOGRAPHS BY SIG SAUER

It’s probably a waste of our ink and your time to remind you that SIG Sauer makes some sweet guns, or how excited I was when my friends at SIG told me that they wanted me to test their new airgun line.

SIG Sauer’s MCX (above) features the same weight as the original model, and is designed to deliver comparable handling, ensuring that it will be fun and challenging to shoot (below).

For that small minority who may not have read last month’s review of SIG’s P226 airgun, not only did SIG launch an airgun line, they went the extra mile and developed a good selection of extremely accurate pellets and a large choice of airgun targets. This was extremely smart on their part, as this new line will be a huge drawing card for kids … and grown-up kids, of course.

So with that said, let’s discuss the MCX.1608-SIG-MCX-01c

It is the same weight as the original model, and is designed to deliver comparable handling. This “real gun” feel guarantees that it will be fun and challenging to shoot, but as with the P226, it’s also great for training purposes. The MCX is charged by CO2, which is a new experience for me. Even as a kid I have never had an airgun that used a CO2 canister. My airguns have always been pump-ups, break-action or PCPs.

The MCX is quite simple to operate. To begin with, it uses a 90-gram canister instead of the normal 12-gram ones. To install a canister you remove the butt stock, screw it in and replace the stock over it. I’m sure it was designed around a larger canister because it holds a 30 shot clip. And speaking of clips, the clip pops out the same as on your regular AR. Inside is a rotary belt that you insert pellets into, which will hold 30 pellets. To load it you pull back the bolt just like on your AR. The gun does have a forward assist bolt, but it is merely decorative, not functional.

The MCX uses a 90-gram CO2 canister. To install, you simply remove the butt stock, screw the canister in and replace the stock over it.

With it holding 30 pellets and being a semiauto, that makes it a fun gun to shoot. I fell in love with it right when I opened the box, and was impressed with how solid it felt.

For the initial voyage, we went out to shoot and chronograph. There were a few ground squirrels out, but we tried to focus on the task at hand. We had a lot of guns to shoot that day and pellets to test. But we finally broke down and shot ground squirrels for a couple of hours when we were finished with the real work.

The 30-shot clip pops out the same as on your regular AR.

Although the gun is listed as shooting up to 750 feet per second, we attained only 590. But fps can vary greatly for a variety of reasons, such as if you have a fully charged canister or not, what kind of pellet that you’re shooting and variations in temperature. I think it’d be fun to chronograph it in 30-degree weather and then again in 105-degree conditions, conducting both tests on a new canister and the same pellets, and compare speeds.

I was unhappy with the groups that I was getting on the range. But I took it along when we went to the mountains for some coyote hunting, and I was able to retest in the middle of the day when things slowed down. I got a little over a 7/8-inch three-shot group at 30 feet. That’s more like it.

The SIG MCX will make an excellent training rifle, as well as a fine varmint gun.

I wrote about hunting ground squirrels elsewhere in this issue, and mentioned that on a good day I’ll get 400 to 500 shots off, so the cost of .22 ammo can quickly add up. So for close shots in a similar hunting scenario, the MCX will not only be a fun little gun to shoot, but it’s also very economical.

The MCX comes with a 1-4×24 SIG Sauer scope, and I was impressed by how crisp and clear it is. The crosshairs have marks for distance and windage. The only downside is that the scope is a 1-4x; as I’m shooting small targets and pushing the limit on yardage when I’m hunting with my airguns, I wish that it was at least a 3-9x.

The trigger was really rough at first. But while I was trying to measure the poundage, it leveled out and pulled straight through at 6.25 pounds. Maybe it just had to break in to get smooth. Obviously, if it had a better trigger, I know that I could tighten my group.

SIG Sauer’s MCX provides shooters with a “real gun” feel and the easy-to-use benefits of an airgun.

But despite the minor issues with the trigger and scope, it is a great little gun, and as soon as the ground squirrels come out in full force I’m going to burn the barrel out. Shooters of all ages will certainly enjoy it, but as with most modern airguns, it is definitely not a toy. ASJ

Editor’s note: For more, see sigsauerasp.com.

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July 7th, 2016 by asjstaff

Testing SIG Sauer’s New P226 Air Pistol

REVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY TOM CLAYCOMB

At first glance the SIG P226 air pistol could be mixed up with the SIG P226, which comes in 9mm and .40 caliber, which is a pistol preferred by elite military forces around the world. I can see how their airgun could be used for training purposes and you could do a lot of inexpensive training with a pistol that so closely resembles your real one.

The P226 can shoot pellets between 308 and 510 feet per second, depending on air temperature and pellets chosen. Using official SIG pellets ensures better accuracy.

The P226 can shoot pellets between 308 and 510 feet per second, depending on air temperature and pellets chosen. Using official SIG pellets ensures better accuracy.

The P226 air pistol uses a conventional size 12-gram Co2 canister, which slips into the back of the grip. The magazine pops out of the bottom the same way it would on any modern semiauto handgun. Each end of the magazine has a rotary clip that holds eight pellets, so when you empty one end you simply eject the magazine, flip it over, reinsert and shoot again. To load the chamber, rack the slide, just like any semiauto.

It’s a blast to shoot. My daughter has several pesky deer that invade her garden. I think this will be a good airgun for chasing them off. The P226 is billed as spitting out pellets at up to 510 feet per second, but we were only able to get 308 fps. However, the feet-per-second measurement is directly related to the charge pressure in your cartridge, outside temperatures – because cooler or very cold temperatures drastically reduce the Co2 capability – and which pellets you use. Even at 308 fps, it would still be perfect for running deer out of your yard without damaging or penetrating the hide, like many high-powered pellet guns might do.

Among SIG’s air target selection is a trap box target, which is perfect for shooting indoors.

Among SIG’s air target selection is a trap box target, which is perfect for shooting indoors.

SHOOTING FROM ABOUT 20 feet, we were getting 1¾-inch groups with the JSB Match Diabolo pellets and 1½ with the SIG Match Ballistic pellets. OK, I’ll be honest: When I say “we,” I mean Ron Spomer, an outdoor hunting professional and television host. I used his groups, since I am not a world-renowned pistol shot.
UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE P226 AIR PISTOL

• Picatinny rail on the bottom, which is great for mounting a light;

• Realistic blow-back slide;

• Each magazine holds a total of 16 pellets.

The P226 air pistol comes in black or flatdark earth, which is similar to a light tan. I think the moment you pick it up you’re going to be impressed with the authentic feel of this pistol, and it is fun to shoot. I also think this pistol would be the perfect gun for shooting grouse or varmints.

SIG offers a full line of dynamic air-pistol and air-rifle targets.

SIG offers a full line of dynamic air-pistol and air-rifle targets.

Now, let’s get into SIG’s line of airgun targets. I don’t know about the kids you take shooting, but mine like dynamic targets, and this line offers all the flippers and spinners for just such stimulation. While testing these guns, we set up four SIG targets to work with, but they offer as many as 10 different styles. Shooting these targets definitely encouraged my kids to shoot more. SIG recommends setting the targets at least 25 yards away because pellets and fragments might ricochet off the spinners. Also, if you have a clear stretch in your garage or basement, you could even set up SIG’s box target to plink. These targets are specifically designed to trap the pellet, which makes it perfect for shooting inside.

Ah! Yet another gun and line of accessories one cannot live without. ASJ

The SIG Sauer P226 air pistol is properly weighted, has slide blowback and the magazine functions just like a real semiauto pistol.

The SIG Sauer P226 air pistol is properly weighted, has slide blowback and the magazine functions just like a real semiauto pistol.

Editor’s note: If you would like to know more about SIG Sauer’s P226 air pistol, you can visit them at sigsauer.com 

Posted in Handguns Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,